Monday, September 17, 2012

Glory Bowl

Freckles and Me
First off, if you are new here, welcome! I am thrilled you have decided to stop by and check out my blog, and/or join the Barefoot Hippie Girl community.

Second, I am absolutely overwhelmed by the response that The Hippie Method-Home Birth has fostered. Thank you for your sweet comments and respectful discussion. Lisa the Doula included it in her weekly roundup paper, in the human interests section. Blown away.

My mom with my kids at Greenfield Village
It has been a fantastic weekend that got started off on the right foot by our trip to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. We divided our time almost equally between the two. I learned a new something or two, and we saw some things we hadn't gotten to yet.

Plus we got to park once again at my absolute favorite scene...the Glass Shop. I am always amazed by the skill it takes to craft these pieces that they sell. The volunteer was saying that an apprentice glass blower has had 3 years of schooling, after which they have to pass a test in order to work in the Village. It takes 10 years or longer to become a skilled glass blower. That's a lot of time!

There was a girl in training on Friday. And the guy was a newer too. One piece they made broke while they were working on it. The second piece was almost finished when they discarded it. Something was just not quite right.

As I stand watching these men and women work in the glass shop, I am reminded of so many things concerning the Christian life. I have shared a bit on this before, but today I am going to take it further. Because, once again, God is using His truths to speak to my heart in the circumstances I find myself in.

The Glory Bowl
Glasswork is an amazing, delicate and constant dance between the fire and the bench. In order for glass to be malleable and workable-it has to be constantly brought back to the fire. The furnace is the glory bowl. Glass needs to stay between 1800 and 2000 degrees to be workable. If it cools too much, it shatters.

If you think, "I can tweak this one last thing before I bring it back to the fire," and you gauge it wrong-the glass shatters.

Christians need to be constantly brought back to the fire-to the glory bowl. And what is the fire?

It could very well be two things-

Trials, suffering, troubles
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ," (1 Peter 1:6-7)

God and God's presence
"Our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:29) Thankfully God doesn't consume believers in His wrath and judgement, but being in His presence does refine us. As we are in His presence, beholding His glory, we are changed into His image.

How many times have I thought, I just don't have time today to spend reading the Bible, to spend praying? And then life shatters me.

The Crucible
The bowl that the glass is melted in is called the crucible. A crucible is a ceramic or metal container in which metals or other substances may be melted or subjected to very high temperatures. It is also a place or occasion of severe test or trial. Some trials are annoying. They can make us better or bitter. Some trials are severe.

Glass is made from sand. These days the highest quality sand is poured into the crucible. It is put into the furnace and heated to between 2000 and 2200 degrees. This heating changes its structure. From grit it is melted into a clear substance of honey consistency.

Sometimes a piece is formed and it is flawed. Or it breaks. It isn't usable in its flawed state, so it gets recycled. It gets placed back into the crucible. Remelted to be made into something new.

Isn't that true for Christians? We are sinners. Our sins, personalities, etc. have made us flawed specimens. God reworks us. Makes us new. In two (actually more) stages.

Jesus Christ went into the crucible for us. He endured the most severe trials and suffering before and on the cross to pay for our sins. God takes our brokenness, the realization that we are sinners, and places us in Christ's crucible. "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live. Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20) He makes out of our brokenness-out of Christ's brokenness-a new creature.

Yet as He is fashioning us into Christ's image we cool. We aren't malleable. We haven't been in His presence like we should. So God brings trials and testings-the fire-that force us back into His presence. That make us soft. And able to be worked with.

Sometimes we go through severe trials that are like being put back into the crucible, melted down, and completely reworked. Some trials are more just a heating up. Keeping us soft. Keeping us workable.

The Blow Pipe
How about the blow pipe? The glass blower has placed a colored layer on the end of the pipe. He then dips that into clear glass. He shapes the clear layer into the shape he wants. And then he blows on the pipe, expanding the colored layer to fit and conform to the shape of the outer layer.

Isn't that what the Holy Spirit does too? As we are in God's presence, as we are going through troubles, the Holy Spirit, is conforming us to Jesus Christ's image. That breath, that Spirit. Blown as the glass is hot. "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Any skill/work of art takes time. In order for these glass artists to become master craftsmen, they spend thousands and thousands of hours perfecting their craft. God is the master craftsman and He takes time to conform us to His image. He doesn't do it all at once. He doesn't just use one trial. It involves years and years of life, trials, and being in His presence.

Last Friday God reminded me that I may not be in the crucible, but He is shaping me. Little trials, little annoyances. A trim here and a whack there.  But, the key is to not stray far from the glory bowl. To not neglect my time in God's presence because of busyness or blogs or school. I have to make that the most important part of my day. The first part.

 And we know that all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren. Romans 8:28-29

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Matrimonial Monday

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